April 2014 -ducklings

I had duckling dreams all night last night, and then they arrived this morning! All 251 are doing SUPER well. The young ducks that we painstakingly overwintered also surprised me today- they laid their first egg today!!!!!!!!! Yeehaw!!!!!!!!

I had duckling dreams all night last night, and then they arrived this morning! All 251 are doing SUPER well. The young ducks that we painstakingly overwintered also surprised me today- they laid their first egg today!!!!!!!!! Yeehaw!!!!!!!!

Homemade cabbage rolls, my Mom would be proud. One of our last storage cabbages! Also from the farm, our pork sausage, frozen peppers, canned tomatoes, dried chicken of the woods mushrooms, goatmilk. Not from the farm- rice, celery, onion. I made two trays (always make leftovers!) and they are in the oven now, cannot wait!

SPRING!!!!!!!!!!!!

What a difference some sun and productivity outdoors has made! I was seriously struggling with the doldrums, the never ending winter took it’s toll on me like it never has, to this extent, before. Today, however, I feel 100% back in the saddle. Th sun is shining, the day time temps are 45-ish, the nights 30.The ducks are SO happy! The egg count today hit 200! May is milking like a maniac (1/2 gallon this AM) and I am now stockpiling milk in the freezer for soap making later in the year. I’ve got 11 batches of soap curing- over 800 bars of soap! Our ducklings are doing amazingly well and are growing so fast, it’s mind boggling. We open up their brooder during the day so they can have sun and fresh air, and this is making a huge difference in their well being. Sunshine is so therapeutic all around.

Not even a week ago, I trudged through 2 feet of snow out to the field garden. I cussed as snow went over and into my boots. We’d designated the field garden space as our spring garden area, since it has good drainage being on a slope (unlike our main garden which is currently covered in water) and in the sun for nearly the entire day. I was sad to see the snow had not melted off it yet, and my planting calendar was falling behind. Part of CSA gardening is having regular crops ready to harvest and if they couldn’t get planted on schedule, the whole kit and kaboodle was getting messed up. I MAY have been overly ambitious to schedule 2# of sugar snap peas being seeded on 3/31, but I had hope.

Today it is April 10th and I’m caught up! The snow melted off the field garden, and I have those peas finally seeded, as well as 60 feet each of spring lettuce mix, radishes, arugula, kale, chard & spinach, and 120 feet of baby carrots. The next round of succession plantings of early crops begins next Monday. I was going to seed turnips and broccoli too, but I am seriously aching right now from 6 hours of hoeing rows, leaning over and seeding all those plants to be, and then carefully covering them up, trying to respect their wishes for the amount of soil they’d prefer for their germination blanket. I tamped them down carefully, as it’s possible we’ll have some rain over the next couple days. Hopefully not downpours. Vegetable growing for a CSA is nervewracking, but as I labored today, I pondered with gratitude the fact that this work is all prepaid. Our members trust that we will bring them the goods. What a rather stressful blessing!

The seedlings started in flats are doing fantastic in the mini hoophouse inside the big hophouse. We used worm castings mixed with peat moss for the initial seed starting mix, but I think the combo was off as I was not seeing vigorous growth, so I started watering those with a composted chicken poop tea and they are suddenly growing extremely vigorously!

I have to uncover it in the day, and then cover it back up at night. Some of these plant babies will be transplanted in the hoophouse, and some will be coming outdoors. I have a whole other fleet of warm-temp-loving plant babies still in our house, and more about to begin.

Andrew spent the day pulling over and lining up panels for the 2 acre pig paddock. We have our work cut out for us actually installing it, but, OH, to see the happy piggies running about in the pine forest so soon! Meanwhile, they are growing like mad, gorging on soaked organic grains and then lounging in the comfort and sun in the cozy hoophouse. All winter, we’d been soaking buckets of grain for them in our now-super-crowded house, but finally it’s warm enough that we’re able to soak grains in 55 gallon barrels in the hoophouse. Soaked semi-fermented buckwheat and oats smell really delicious, and you can tell the pigs ADORE it as they basically inhale it out of their trough.They are gorgeous, content and gloriously healthy pigs. Strangely, every time I hang out with them, I want to eat pork for dinner. What a long way I have come from vegan to meat-raiser.

 

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